Kitchen Design

S22 E4 – Custom Kitchens and Cabinetry with Jean Stoffer

This week, on the first regular Chaise Lounge episode of the season Nick chats with Michigan designer Jean Stoffer. Stoffer is another designer who found out about design as an adult. She grew up in a cozy home that was never intentionally designed, and got a business degree. She discovered the craft of design when she got a job as a business administrator at a design firm where the designers turned her interest into an informal apprenticeship, teaching her how to draft and why choices get made. And one day, a friend of her mother’s called looking specifically for her to help out with her house now that all her kids were off at school. And, through word of mouth, empty-nesters kept seeking her out.

139 – Kim Vance: Creating Color in a Whole New Way

Kim Vance: Creating Color in a Whole New Way

On this episode of The Lounge, Kim Vance of Whyte and Company joins us from Dallas to talk about creating color in a whole new way: in sinks! Kim discovered a niche that didn’t previously exist and then filled it by manufacturing colorful sinks. Nick and Kim originally met at ICFF.

How it all started

Kim didn’t have any sort of background in plumbing but was actually a marketing person. One day she and her girlfriend started talking about how fun a colorful sink would be and googled ‘purple sink’, but nothing came up!  Unless it was glass or old, a purple sink was nowhere to be sold in the USA or in Europe. Kim pondered why we can order a spatula from Amazon and receive it on the same day, but we can’t buy a purple sink. The sink industry’s colors were so limited that they were essentially black, white, gray, beige, beige, and beige. So why was no one doing it?

Kim decided to take matters into her own hands. Now for the first time in 40 years, color is taking over plumbing in over 30 standard colors, but this time in an updated, clean, European inspired look. And people are ready for it. Not only do designers LOVE it but the clients are reaching out to designers because they HAVE to have it.

The Logistics

With no plumbing background, Kim had to learn all about sinks, sink manufacturers, and all of the who? what? where? when? how? questions of the sink industry. Today, she can’t believe how fun product design really is and loves inventing amazing colors with her “colorista” team (including Kerrie Kelly, and Michel Boyd).

Originally, Kim dove right in and began manufacturing in Mexico but after realizing how important quality control is, she moved her team to the U.S. All of the sinks are made to order with only a 4 week turn around, and while there are standard designs and colors, Kim says,”if you can dream it we can make it.” Custom is the word. If there are quirky spaces and niches to fill, she can do it and at the SAME price point. The solid surface material that they use is so malleable that it costs the same to manufacture, meaning there’s no upcharge on them or YOU. Their style suits contemporary to transitional.

The hardest thing early on was figuring out the properties of the materials. Making sure they are durable and won’t chip was very important to Kim, so she had to figure out what could and couldn’t be done with the materials from both a color and a design perspective.

Why Whyte?

Kim tells us that the color white is the encapsulation of all color- she wanted a name with meaning that felt relatable. Growing and getting your name out there is definitely a challenge. She was nervous about being able to sell color to the clients and not just to designers, but clients have been the ones most excited about it. A lot of people find them through Instagram.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Kim’s favorite color, it’s the first color she fabricated and a customer favorite. The most sought after color though is Sweet Plum by Lisa Escobar which is very popular for small urban spaces. Shay Blue is a cobalt blue and also very popular. Blush is the most requested sample, and not just for kids spaces.

What the business looks like today

Whyte and Company have only been selling since January so 6 months in, it’s still early. She’s thrilled that people are stopping in their tracks at the showrooms to look at the sink. People are very excited about using color and having another dimension to it. No one can compete with it! People are actually getting excited about plumbing, who knew that would ever happen? Kim’s advice? Don’t install these sinks in your bathroom if you don’t want everyone who goes through to take a sink selfie.

Whyte and Company sell to the trade, so not directly to clients, but they are carried by build.com and you can go to their website and apply to be a member of the trade.

E-mail info@whyteandcompany.com if you have any questions and learn more at www.whyteandcompany.com

  • Upcoming Events

PCBC – June 26 – 28

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

  • Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!

120 – Sarah Blank: The World of Kitchen Design

Sarah Blank Interiors

Sarah Blank: The world of Kitchen Design

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Sarah Blank. Sarah shares her passion for being a kitchen and bath designer, how she started her own business, and what she loves about the industry.

Getting to know Sarah

Sarah is calling in from Stamford, CT, where she is working from home. Sarah enjoys Dwell for modern architecture and Period Home Magazine from a Classicist perspective – each at opposite ends of the spectrum. Sarah also enjoys a good handbag, red wine, and spending time at her Vermont vacation home.

How did Sarah get into design?

Sarah was working for her high school history teacher’s brother, Richard, for a summer. Richard was in charge of Bloomingdale’s windows. He told Sarah she needed to enroll at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She transferred and the rest is history!

After graduating, Sarah obtained a position working in kitchen design and has never left the industry. In 1994, she met Richard Sammons, a classical architect. Through him, she became involved with the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Sarah said that Classicism isn’t a style, but rather a language that you design by, rules and principles that are all about proportion.

Sarah loves what she does and believes in collaboration. Within her first year, Bunny Williams asked to do a job with her. Sarah loved working with her. Bunny is so good at what she does and is so down to earth. Bunny included Sarah in meetings with clients to see how she worked.

Sarah works mostly on kitchens, butler’s pantries, and master baths. Some homes have numerous kitchens with different sets of criteria. Kitchens need to be accessible not only for homeowners but also chefs and caterers. Kitchen designers have to blend all needs to be universal and usable.

What does the business look like today?

Today, Sarah’s company is small, which she likes. Kristin and Andrew are her designers, and Chip is her right-hand assistant. Her husband’s company does local construction and contracting and she works with a small group of architects and vendors she loves – mill shops, steel fabricators, etc. She mentions that you need to have vendors and people to make your designs happen.

Sarah’s husband also handles the business side and Andrea helps with social media.

How did Sarah start her own firm?

Sarah says she just knew she was ready to go on her own. She was with her previous company for 17 years and even gave them a years notice. Her first job on her own came from a referral. Sarah recalled how in the beginning, the team could focus on one project at a time, but now they are constantly juggling jobs to keep things in motion.

Sarah started her business in the basement, but then built an addition on her home. Soon, she built a studio, which was a learning experience with the classical language. The space was so beautiful and well designed that a plastic surgeon made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. She ended up selling the studio and now works out of a studio in Greenwich, CT.

Sarah says that execution is exciting for her and takes the most time. She can almost see into the future with her experience and being able to plan. Sarah recommends that you make sure you have contracts in order, understand the law, and do your job well. She has learned this from experience as well, from being involved in a lawsuit. Sarah loves what she does because of what she has been through.

Why kitchen and bath design?

Sarah loves classical architectural and says that you don’t need to be an architect to practice Classicism. If she could do it all over, Sarah wouldn’t change a thing. She uses her talent and ability to put together a home as a whole. What she does cannot be purchased online. Sarah tells us that homeowners want kitchen and bath designers that are detail oriented.

Sarah designs from the ceiling down. She doesn’t just put boxes on a wall, but rather integrates the kitchen into the architecture. It all has to flow. She focuses on the fundamentals of the room and brings a design point of view through her own experience. On the other hand, Sarah finds it tough when clients want things that won’t work or they don’t do what you recommend. She has had to walk away from customers knowing that it is the best decision for both parties in the long term.

Learn more on Sarah’s website feel free to reach out to her directly. She would love to help you in the industry and educate you on how to find success with kitchen and bath design

  • Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!

04 – Bryan Aboud with Miele

Interview with rep Bryan Aboud from Miele

TMiele dishwasherhe first thing you need to know, is how to correctly say Miele.  It is like Tequila.  Bryan covers a large portion of the western United States for Miele.  We chatted about some of the new and interesting products coming out for Miele, as well as how their fancy dishwasher cleans glass with a mix of hard and soft water.

masterchefWe discussed in detail the new 6000 series, Masterchef ovens, and steam options for ovens.

To get in touch with a Miele rep, contact him through his website at miele.com  

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at www.thechaiseloungepodcast.com.

 

Transcript

Well, Slew, we’re back at Decorative Materials.

 

Yes. We are.

 

How have you been?

 

I’ve been fantastic! How am I looking?

 

Oh, you look fantastic as always! We’ve got a great guest today.

 

I know. I’m thrilled.

 

So, do you know much about Miele?

 

I do.

 

Do you have one?

 

I don’t. But I will.

 

You can.

 

I can.

 

I want to have one now.

 

I know.

 

Now, that I know what I know.

 

I know.

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